Lombardi had been the GM since 2006. Sutter was hired in 2011.
Filling the void will be two long-time members of the organization, Luc Robitaille and Rob Blake. Robitaille has been named club President and will now oversee all hockey and business operations, and Blake has been named Vice President and General Manager, and will direct all day to day hockey operations for the organization.
“This was an extremely difficult decision and was made with an enormous amount of consideration for what we have accomplished in our past. But the present and future of our organization is the highest priority,” said Dan Beckerman, President and CEO of AEG. “Words cannot express our gratitude and appreciation for what Dean and Darryl have accomplished for the Kings franchise. They built this team and helped lead us to two Stanley Cup Championships and will forever be remembered as all-time greats in Kings history. But with that level of accomplishment comes high expectations and we have not met those expectations for the last three seasons. With the core players we have in place, we should be contending each year for the Stanley Cup. Our failure to meet these goals has led us to this change.”
The moves came as a surprise, given the unprecedented success of Lombardi and Sutter.
This past season Lombardi dealt with injuries, salary cap issues, and a roster unable to produce goals. His mid-season deal for goalie Ben Bishop perhaps sealed his fate, as it failed to address the team's offensive problems.
Sutter likely was fired due to his reluctance to feature the team's young players, and for his old-school, defense-oriented approach in a league trending towards speed.
Robitaille, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, has served as Kings President, Business Operations the last 10 years. The highest scoring left wing in NHL history, under Robitaille’s leadership the Kings have had a tremendous overall impact on the Kings Business Operations department – revenue has doubled -- including the areas of Sponsorship Sales and Renewal, Fan and Customer Relations, Game Entertainment, Media Relations and Broadcasting.
In 19 seasons as an NHL player, including 14 with the Kings, Robitaille – the all-time Kings leader in goals scored (557) and a former Kings captain -- recorded 1394 points (668-726=1394) and won a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2002. His jersey was retired by the Kings in 2007.
Blake, who is also a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, becomes the ninth general manager in team history. He was named to his most recent role of Vice President/Assistant General Manager in 2013 and has held the position for last four seasons. Prior to that Blake, a former Kings captain, worked in the National Hockey League’s Player Safety department for three years.
During his time as an executive with the team, Blake has also served as the general manager of the Kings’ primary minor league affiliate, the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League (that franchise won the Calder Cup in Championship in 2015). In addition, Blake served as General Manager of Canada’s National Men’s Team for the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, and he worked on the Management Staff for Team Canada’s entry in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
In 20 seasons as an NHL player, including 14 with the Kings, Blake recorded 777 points (240-537=777) and he won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001. He was in his front office role with the Kings when the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2014, and he had his jersey retired by the Kings in 2015.
“This restructuring of the front-office will establish a single leader of the organization that will provide a unified vision, focus and alignment between the team side and the business side,” said Beckerman. “It mirrors the same structure we recently implemented with the LA Galaxy and it will not only enable the integration of these two sides of the club into a single organization but will bring symmetry between the Kings and Galaxy.”
Lombardi was hired by the Kings on April 21, 2006. His overall regular season record as the club’s general manager is 425-339-104 over 868 games (the games and wins are most among Kings general managers all-time; his 11-year tenure is the longest as well) and in the playoffs the Kings were 46-35. Lombardi and his executive staffs were instrumental in the Kings winning the Stanley Cup in both 2012 and 2014.
Sutter was hired by the Kings on December 20, 2011. His overall record as the club’s head coach is 225-147-53 over 425 games in the regular season (the wins are most among Kings head coaches all-time and the games coached is second all-time) and in the playoffs the Kings were 42-27 (the 42 wins is also a franchise record). Sutter and his coaching staffs played pivotal roles in the Kings winning the two Stanley Cups.
DUCKS ON A ROLL
The Ducks closed the regular season on a 14-game point streak (11-0-3) to win their fifth straight Pacific Division title, becoming the seventh team in NHL history to claim five consecutive division titles and first since the Canucks from 2008-09 through 2012-13.
McDAVID SHINES IN SOPHOMORE SEASON
Playing just his second NHL season, Oilers captain Connor McDavid led the League with 70 assists and 100 points – as well as 30 multi-point performances – to win the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s scoring champion.
At 20 years, 86 days, McDavid became the third-youngest player in League history to win the Art Ross Trophy, behind only Sidney Crosby (19 years, 244 days in 2006-07) and Wayne Gretzky (20 years, 69 days in 1980-81).
McDavid became the second Oilers player to capture the Art Ross Trophy and first since Gretzky won seven straight from 1980-81 through 1986-87. He also became the first Oilers player to reach the 100-point milestone since Doug Weight in 1995-96.
McDavid – who in October became the youngest captain in League history – finished the season on a 14-game point streak (7-18—25), the longest by any NHL player in 2016-17 and longest by any Oilers player since 1987-88.
MORE YOUTH TAKE OVER
Several rookies made a significant impact during the 2016-17 regular season:
Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, the first overall selection in the 2016 NHL Draft, led all rookies in goals (40) and points (69) while playing in all 82 games. Matthews, who at age 19 became the fourth rookie League history to score 40 goals in a season before his 20th birthday, also established single-season franchise rookie records for goals and points. Matthews made an immediate impact, registering four goals on opening night to become the first player in the NHL’s modern era (since 1943-44) to score four times in his League debut.
Two other Maple Leafs rookies, William Nylander (22-39—61) and Mitchell Marner (19-42—61), finished third and fourth, respectively, in rookie scoring. Toronto became the second team in NHL history to have three rookies record at least 60 points. The other: the 1980-81 Nordiques (Peter Stastny: 39-70—109, Anton Stastny: 39-46—85, Dale Hunter: 19-44—63).
Jets forward Patrik Laine also put together a record-setting campaign, collecting 36-28—64 in 73 games to rank seventh in the League in goals and shatter franchise rookie benchmarks for goals and points in a season. At age 18, Laine became the first player in NHL history to post three hat tricks prior to his 19th birthday as well as the first rookie to notch three hat tricks in one season since 1992-93.
A total of six rookies – Matthews (40), Laine (36), Carolina’s Sebastian Aho (24), Nylander (22), Toronto’s Connor Brown (20) and Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen (20) – reached the 20-goal mark this season, the most since 2010-11 (7).
Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski collected 11-36—47 in 78 games to pace rookie defensemen in all three categories and establish franchise records for assists and points in a season by any rookie.
JAGR CONTINUES TO CLIMB ALL-TIME LISTS
Playing his 23rd NHL season, Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr (765-1,149—1,914 in 1,711 GP) posted 16-30—46 while appearing in all 82 games to continue his climb up the League’s record book.
On Dec. 22 vs. BOS, Jagr registered his 1,888th career point to move past Mark Messier (694-1,193—1,887) and into sole possession of second place in NHL history.
On Jan. 4 vs. WPG, Jagr collected his 1,136th career assist to move past Paul Coffey (1,135) and into sole possession of fifth place in League history.
On Feb. 15 at SJS, Jagr celebrated his 45th birthday with an assist, joining Wayne Gretzky (894-1,963—2,857) as the only players in NHL history with 1,900 career points.
RED WINGS MISS PLAYOFFS IN JOE LOUIS ARENA’S FINAL SEASON
The Red Wings missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 1989-90, ending a run of 25 consecutive postseason appearances – tied for the third-longest such streak in NHL history:
The Red Wings also closed the doors on Joe Louis Arena, their home since 1979-80. Playing in his 1,000th NHL game, captain Henrik Zetterberg posted 1-1—2 to lift Detroit to a 4-1 victory over New Jersey in the building’s finale on April 9.
WEDNESDAY’S ACTION (All Times Eastern)
NY Rangers @ Montreal, Game 1, 7 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, TVAS
Boston @ Ottawa, Game 1, 7 p.m., NHLN, SN, TVAS2, NESN
Columbus @ Pittsburgh, Game 1, 7:30 p.m., USA, SN360, TVAS3, FS-O, ROOT
St. Louis @ Minnesota, Game 1, 9:30 p.m., NBCSN, SN360, TVAS2, FS-MW, FS-N
San Jose @ Edmonton, Game 1, 10 p.m., USA, SN, TVAS, NBCS CA
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services